Masterful Bieber Goes the Distance in Five-Hit Shutout; Indians 10, Orioles 0
Bob Toth | On 19, May 2019
The Indians had put up big run production and well-pitched games during the first three games of their series with the Baltimore Orioles, but they had not done so in the same contest.
That changed on Sunday, as Cleveland claimed a much needed series win with ten runs of support and a dynamite complete game effort on the mound from starting pitcher Shane Bieber in a 10-0 shutout.
The second-year right-hander went the distance for the first time in his Major League career in a dominant five-hit pitching performance. He allowed just five singles on the day and only one runner to reach scoring position while striking out a career-high 15 batters in the first game of his career against Baltimore.
Bieber’s competition on Sunday was young right-hander Yefry Ramirez, who was making his first start of the season and fifth overall appearance after working previously in relief. He got into trouble early and often and lasted just three and one-third innings, departing with half of the day’s damage to his credit.
The Indians jumped out to a lead in the bottom of the first after a pair of strikeouts and a groundout from Bieber. Francisco Lindor started the home half with a double down the right field line. Jason Kipnis bunted the next pitch for a base hit to put runners on the corners for Carlos Santana. He drove in the game’s first run with a single to right and two pitches later, Carlos Gonzalez made it a 2-0 game with a sacrifice fly to center.
Bieber cruised through an eleven-pitch second before the Indians gave him another run. Roberto Perez singled before two outs retired by Ramirez. Perez moved to third on the second double in as many innings by Lindor and both advanced on a passed ball by catcher Austin Wynns, with Perez touching home to give the Indians a 3-0 lead.
Three of the five hits allowed by Bieber came in the third inning. Rio Ruiz singled to left, but was erased on a double play ball from Hanser Alberto. Wynns singled and was chased to third on a single by Jonathan Villar, but Dwight Smith Jr. struck out looking on Bieber’s fourth K of the day in what would be the only at bat of the day for the Orioles with a runner in scoring position.
Two pitches into the bottom of the third, the Indians added another run. Santana was back in the center of it again as he started the inning with a solo shot to right to give the Indians a 4-0 lead. Back-to-back walks by Gonzalez and Jose Ramirez set the table for Jake Bauers, but he flied to left for the first out. A wild pitch by Y. Ramirez moved both runners up and a grounder by Perez pushed across Gonzalez to extend the lead to 5-0. Leonys Martin left J. Ramirez in scoring position on a swinging strikeout.
Bieber struck out two more in the fourth, while the Orioles had to turn to their bullpen in the home half. Oscar Mercado walked, but was caught stealing. Lindor walked, bringing Richard Bleier out from the center field bullpen. He got the next two, working around a stolen base by Lindor.
Both clubs posted quiet fifth frames, with the Orioles getting their fourth hit of the game with a two-out single by Alberto before another strikeout by Bieber. He added two more in the sixth to give him ten on the day.
The Indians extended their healthy lead with a big bottom of the sixth. With one out, Martin doubled off of Bleier, ending his outing. Gabriel Ynoa replaced him, but gave up the second double of the year to Mercado as he plated Martin with the sixth run of the game. Lindor reached on a throwing error by Ynoa that allowed Mercado to score. Kipnis and Santana drew back-to-back free passes to load the bases, but Gonzalez was cut down swinging for the second out. Ramirez stayed alive in a long at bat with three balls fouled off before drawing a walk, forcing in the third run of the inning. Bauers grounded out to end the rally.
Bieber allowed his last base runner in the seventh, when Stevie Wilkerson singled with one out. Bieber stranded him at first with a line out and a strikeout.
The Indians added their final two runs of the day in the seventh against Ynoa. With one down, Martin and Mercado each singled to right. Lindor grounded out to second, moving both runners up, and both came in on a double by Mike Freeman to make it a 10-0 ball game.
Bieber retired the side in order in the eighth, adding his 13th strikeout of the day. He returned for the ninth and handled business there as well, striking out Smith Jr., getting a one-pitch grounder to third by Joey Rickard, and throwing three big hooks to Chris Davis, who swung and missed on all three to end it.
The Indians improved to 25-20 on the season and earned the series win over the Orioles, who dropped to 15-31 on the year.
Bieber’s first career complete game and shutout also included a career-high 15 strikeouts. He needed just 107 pitches to go the distance, including 75 strikes. He was at times unhittable, throwing 27 pitches that were swung on and missed by the Orioles.
“It was one of those days where everything was working,” Bieber said. “Fortunately, I was able to take advantage of it because they don’t come too often. A lot of guys will tell you that, just be able to take advantage of it.”
Ramirez allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits with four walks and three strikeouts in taking his second loss of the year for the O’s.
Eight of nine starters for the Indians reached base safely on Sunday, with Bauers going 0-for-5. Freeman, who pinch-ran for Kipnis in the sixth, also reached with his two-run double in the seventh. Lindor, Martin, and Mercado each had two hits on the day, with the latter scoring for the fourth straight game to open his big league career while also driving in his first MLB run. Santana homered in consecutive games for the third time this season and the fourth time in the month of May.
Smith Jr. and Davis had no answers against Bieber. The pair each went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in the rare dual golden sombrero performance.
The Indians will continue their long homestand on Monday as the Oakland Athletics come to town for three straight. The Orioles will head back home to Baltimore to start a home set with the New York Yankees.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images